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Corrections Minister Must Address Staffing Crisis

“Corrections staff attrition has doubled under Labour, while recruitment is down 35 per cent. When Kelvin Davis said he wanted less people in prison we didn’t think he meant the staff,” says ACT’s Corrections spokesperson Toni Severin.

“Written Parliamentary Questions from Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis show that the attrition rate for Corrections Officers has doubled in the last four years. In 2018 there was a loss of 282, in 2022 we’re on track to lose 690.

“This is exacerbated by plummeting recruitment rates. In the same time period, the number of officers recruited has reduced by 35 per cent. Down from 637 recruited in 2018 to a projected 414 in 2022.

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“It is thought that a long period of reduced recruitment throughout the Covid pandemic, coupled with lower than ever staff morale is causing the staffing crisis.

“It was just over a year ago that Corrections Officers considered holding a symbolic vote of no confidence in Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis over his lack of support for staff.

“It seems that now officers are choosing to vote with their feet, and instead leave the industry altogether.

“This places immense pressure on remaining staff, who find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations.

“The Corrections Association of NZ (CANZ) says that approximately 751 extra staff are needed over the next six months, but at current recruitment levels not even one quarter of that will be filled.

“Earlier this year CANZ produced pens with “Where’s Kelvin” printed on them because of his lack of engagement in the portfolio. It seems nothing has changed since then.”

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